They have both experienced some of the most prestigious diving venues across the world, but for Edinburgh’s Grace Reid and James Heatly, there’s no place that rivals the Royal Commonwealth Pool.
The duo are preparing for this weekend’s Scottish National and Open Diving Championships, the competition being held at the Capital venue and a place they like to call home.
The teenagers make use of the facilities almost every day with the Edinburgh Diving Club and also represented Scotland at last year’s Commonwealth Games when the RCP, as it is more commonly known, had the honour of hosting the diving events.
“It’s great competing there and something I really enjoy and always look forward to,” said Heatly, whose late grandfather Peter is Scotland’s most successful diver having won gold in three British Empire [Commonwealth] Games during the 1950s.
“I just love it, absolutely love it and I’m so fortunate I get to train there every day,” Reid also explained. “The facilities are fantastic as are the training times, but it’s always nice having a competition there. There’s nothing like a home crowd.”
Both are using this weekend’s event to gauge their current performance levels given Heatly underwent knee surgery in the summer despite his triple medal success at the European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan, in June. Reid, who was also forced under the knife to repair a shoulder injury last year, is looking to up the ante this weekend with some new routines.
“It’s been a really enjoyable year,” Heatly, 18, said. “I’ve had to learn to deal with the cameras and just try and ignore them so that has been one of my biggest challenges. But I feel a bit more prepared now for big competitions.
“I’ve won all three of the events (1m springboard, 3m springboard, 10m platform) for the last six years but I did have surgery on my knee in the summer so this will be a good benchmark to see where I am. That said, I want to get my trophies back!”
At 19-years-old, Reid is the more experienced of the two, but is ready to try some new moves on the board.
“This weekend will be a really good test event for me as I’m attempting some new dives which have a higher degree of difficulty,” she explained. “Results always come second as you have to think about what you’re doing first. No matter what competition it is, you always get that same adrenaline rush. But me and my coach have been working really hard lately so I’m looking forward to putting them into practice.”
With qualification trials for next year’s Rio Olympics edging ever closer, both divers are ready to give it everything they’ve got and seal their spots with Team GB.
“To go to the Olympics for any athlete is like the biggest thing you can do so it’s always in the back of my mind,” Heatly said. “But I’m just taking one competition at a time.”
An excited Reid added: “They are playing in my mind a lot. We’re putting in all the work now and doing everything in our power to make the team.”